Indian Tribes


Indian Tribes Essay, Research Paper

The Toltecs were an Indian tribe who existed from 900 A.D. to 1200.

They had a capital city of Tollan, and their influences reached south to

the Yucatan and Guatemala. They were a composite tribe of Nahua, Otomi,

and Nonoalca. The Tolt ecs made huge stone columns decorated like totem



Aztecs were an American Indian people who rule an empire in Mexico during

the 1400’s and early 1500’s. They practiced a religion that affected every

part of their lives. To worship the Aztecs built towering temples, created

huge sculptures, and had human sacrifices. The center of Aztec

civilization was a river valley in Mexico. The emperor of the Aztecs was

called the “huey tlatoani” (great speaker). A council of high-ranking no

bles chose him from the members of a royal family. The Aztec society had

four main classes nobles, commoners, serfs, and slaves. The typical Aztec

household consisted of a husband and wife, their unmarried children, and a

number of the husbands relative s. Boys were educated by their father

until aboutn 10 years of age. The Aztecs married at an early age, women at

about 16, men at about 20. Warfare was considered a religious duty by the

Aztecs. They fought not only to enlarge their empire but also to take

prisoners to sacrifice to the gods. The market place was a major center of

Aztec life, more than 60,000 people visited it daily. They had no system

of money, they traded goods and services for other goods and services.

They had no pack-animals, a nd as a result, they themselves had to carry

all their goods over land. The end of the Aztec empire came when the

Spaniards came. The first time the Spaniards were mistaken for returning

gods. When they returned to Spain, they told of all the gold that the

Aztecs had. The Spaniards returned one year later with canons and they had

the help of the other indian tribes of the area, in destroying the Aztec



The Mayan civilization flourished from the 3rd to the 16th centuries in

an a rea the included the peninsula of Yucatan and the eastern part of

Chiapas in Mexico, most of Guatemala, the western region of the Republic of

Honduras. In the Spanish conquest only a few Mayans resisted the

conversion to Christianity. The Mayans believe d that 13 heavens were

arranged in layers above the earth, and under the earth were nine

underworlds also arranged in layers. The concepts are closely related to

those of the Aztecs. The religion has partly survived to this day among

the Christianized M ayans. Mayan mathematics included the discovery of

zero, the duration of the solar year, and a method of predicting solar

eclipses. Mayan cities were primarily ceremonial, government, and market

centers. Sacrifices were numerous of animals, birds, inse cts, fish,

plants, blood from tongues, ears, arms, and legs. For rain victims were

hurled into deep wells. Drawing blood from bodies often preceded

ceremonies and sacrifices. These practices had become so deeply rooted

that, even after the Spanish conq uest, Christian–pagan ceremonies took

place with sacrifices featuring heart removal or crucifixion. The custom

of human sacrifice ended in 1868. Ritual activities were complex, and

consisted of bloodletting from ears and tongues, sacrifices, and dances .

Every social group celebrated its own religious feast. Sorcerers and

medicine men were both prophets and inflicters or healers of disease. They

used magic formulas, chants, and prayers for healing methods.

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